Tuesday, July 10, 2012
What in essence is the real story of the Vavuniya prison incident? - Exclusive
Vavuniya prison housed some hard core LTTE fighters who were considered inappropriate for rehabilitation. The LTTE prisoners had formed their own little clique inside the prison, where even the jailors were unable to go into their area, and where they had effectively taken control of a section for a while, months in fact. Most of the jailors were tamil speaking and possibly ethnic Tamil and therefore were either sympathetic to them or bought out by money or threatened with harm or a mix of the above. Anyone who runs a prison and does not want trouble knows that a group such as this is best controlled by giving into certain demands. One only has to look into the history of IRA prisoners in British jails for examples of how they had their own sections and ran their show there!
Nevertheless they behaved as they owned the place. So when instructions came from the LTTE high command in the Diaspora, with whom they were in constant touch through satellite phones, to resist using a transfer of a prisoner to the South as an excuse, they took control of the whole prison. Of course their masters in the Diaspora just wanted to use their ex-troops like cannon fodder in a far greater PR game in the West, they had in mind.
Knowing full well that the SL authorities will come in hard on the prisoners, the Diaspora were hoping for a publicity triumph hoping for a prison massacre. Orders came from the top to use whatever means, but not KILL to take over the prison and restore order. After all it was a huge blunder to let this happen, when the Govt. maintains that they are firmly in control of terrorism wherever it may occur! The IGP took personal charge of the op.
So once the prison was stormed and taken over by the security forces with a very professional plan cleverly executed, there was simmering resentment that these few prisoners were able to create riot and should be taught a lesson. Using the existing prisoners who resented the special treatment the LTTE ones were able to get through their dominance as mentioned earlier. A new squad of prison guards who had replaced the others who had refused to join had been brought from the South. The conditions were ripe for revenge.
These prisoners, 32 in number were thrashed black and blue with all kinds of implements, a familiar modus operandi in Sri Lankan prisons and police stations to exact confessions and revenge. (not at all a race based reaction)
The prison was emptied and the beaten up prisoners were transferred elsewhere including Mahara prison in the Gampaha district. One prisoner in Mahara who was so badly beaten, was recommended by a doctor to be transferred immediately to the Ragama hospital, but that was delayed and when finally done 24 hours later, succumbed to his injuries.
Of course there are many others also injured and possibly one other in hospital arising from these beatings. I wonder if the Govt. will permit an independent body to examine them. I rather think not due to the adverse publicity it will receive.
The TNA has pounced on this incident and have engaged the foreign diplomats in explaining racial abuse and violence and have given them a dossier. I hope these diplomats go and see how police extract confessions every day in police cells to realize this is not a case of racial, but pure human rights abuse by the police when they feel slighted or made fools of. It is purely called REVENGE.
The BBC has also taken up this story today and spread it around the world that the body of the dead man will not be handed to the parents to be taken to Vavuniya for burial citing a security threat and have only permitted cremation in Colombo. It is obvious that the authorities do not want to release a badly beaten up body, as abuse will be obvious, but to be fair to them the LTTE Diaspora and local TNA taking this up as another incident of HR abuse against Tamils for their own PR leaves the usually bumbling Sri Lankan government in a quandary.
It will be interesting to see how the story plays out in the coming days as each side tries to take political advantage over the death of a prisoner, who was a LTTE fighter!
I let the reader decide on the best way out of the mess!